8 Tips to Beat Depression

When Sabal’s fingers touched my face, I knew morning had arrived. Through a thick fog and swollen eyes, my body slogged along until I sipped cups of morning coffee.
That was me three years ago, in summer of 2010.
Depression haunted my soul and felt much like I stood behind a plexiglass wall and couldn’t break out.
Of my litany of medical struggles I’ve encountered, despair continued to be the number one topic that my friends secretly would ask about as soon as I mentioned my internal suffering. One hint of my history, and question after question followed.
I wanted to snap out of it…but couldn’t. I wondered what was wrong with me, and I certainly didn’t want to share my weakness with anyone.
There’s hope. I promise. I’m living proof.
Here are the things that entrapped my mind. 
1) I exaggerated my problems, making them bigger than what they were. We were in debt again from more hospital bills and I thought there was no way to climb out. Plus, we lived in the middle of a cancer cluster in Acreage, and we were trying to move–but it wasn’t working.
2) I analyzed myself and repeated my shortcomings over and over. During this season of my life, I was writing a book and felt deeply inadequate and daily questioned why I returned to my keyboard when surely no publishing house would ever purchase my manuscript. Spiritual warfare, anyone? The enemy hated that I was recording my miracles. No wonder he bombarded my mind.
3) Withdrawing from friends, I isolated myself out of fear no one would understand what I was going through.
4) Emotionally, the worrying wore me out and I experienced great fatigue. This caused long napping during the day, which was horrible come night time because I couldn’t sleep. That’s where the occasional glass of wine or overuse of a popular sleep aid came in. I even intermittently used half doses of old Oxycontin pills from treatment because they had the opposite effect on me. They make most people hyper–me, super tired. Either way, I woke in a fog most mornings and didn’t want to get out of bed, and I certainly didn’t want to share my embarrassing sleep-tactics with anyone. I’d be judged for sure. I had no idea that drugs interfere with the neurotransmitters in my brain, and could have  been the main reason for my depression.
5) I focused on my disappointment with unmet expectations.
What helped break these habits and aid in mentally moving forward? 
1) I needed someone, anyone, to believe in me, and I needed to know my circumstances would change. Hope deferred made my heart and mind sick. My husband tried his best to help, but I needed tangible proof our circumstances would change. We sought wise counsel in certain areas of our life (financial and marriage classes).
2) I flushed my pills and stopped indulging in the occasional glass of wine. This was a big turning point in my life. Alcohol is a depressant and may be fine for those who aren’t struggling with despair. For me, it took a few days, but I noticed the biggest relief when the chemicals no longer altered my mind.
3) I opened up to a few close friends I knew wouldn’t judge me.
4) I forced myself to get out of the house even when I had little desire to leave my bed.
5) I started jogging. Exercise played a key role in energizing my endorphins.
6) Prayer and Bible Reading. Giving God my burdens helped calm my spirit. I journaled my thoughts, read my Bible, and prayed like never before. Even when the heaviness surrounded me, I knew I wasn’t going through this mess alone. Then something crazy happened after the medications were out of my system. When I read my Bible, my spirit lifted.
I can’t explain it. I don’t think I need to.
7) I listened to upbeat music or motivational speakers. Much of my music was slow and jazzy. Surrounding myself with positive, upbeat music elevated my spirit. So did replacing the negative messages in my brain with a positive motivational speaker. Think Zig Zigglar, Tim Hawkins, Bob Coy, Andy Stanley, Steven Furtick, Joyce Meyer, and Pastor Dan Plourde.
8) I got my lithium levels checked. No one ever wants to admit they may have low lithium levels, but mine were slightly lower than normal. I’m not a doctor, and you shouldn’t blindly follow what someone else has done, but I can honestly say that the supplement Li-Zyme by Biotics Research helped elevate my mood. I am not affiliated with Biotics Research in any way and I am not trying to sway you to take their products. This is what helped me and when I was so beaten down, I just wanted someone to shoot straight. I don’t do well with medications and always seem to have some awful side effect, but this phytonutrient helped me for a period of time and with no adverse reactions. Talk with your doctor, I’d recommend one who will take the time to listen and isn’t quick to write out a prescription.
Three years later, the more I talked with friends about the subject, the more I heard the same trap:
Fear. Excessive worrying. Isolation. Mood-altering medications/alcohol. Limited support system. Distorted views of self.
Depression began in my mind where the father of lies loved to whisper away at me, baiting my thoughts.
The good news? The cycle can be broken. Finding the triggers, openly talking about it, and taking action steps to break free were the keys.
Parts of this post I almost deleted, again, out of fear of judgement. Then I remembered: In Christ there is no condemnation.
Humans condemn. Christ sets captives free.
Anyone else have any action steps they used to beat depression? I’d sure like to hear them.  



  • Jennifer

    Thank you for your genuineness and vulnerability. Depression is the most common mental health issue we as people face. There are biological, psychological, emotional, and spiritual factors all at work when we experience depression. Numerous people in the Bible walked through dark periods of despair and I think the Bible includes those stories to teach us and give us hope that is not deferred. In addition to everything you shared, there is a wonderful Bible study called “Strength for the Journey: Biblical perspectives on discouragement and depression” published through Lifeway Christian store. I pray God uses our willingness to be transparent to break down the fear and hiding of those experiencing depression so they will seek help. It’s available and we are called to bear each others burdens so o one should walk through despair alone! -Jennifer

    • dabneyland

      I wish I would have known you back then. I really needed a counselor but I was too prideful to seek one out. How sad is that?? Praise God for people like you who point people in the right direction. Thanks for this information. I plan on checking this book out.
      Blessings to you!
      Sent from my iPhone

  • Jody

    It took me forever to go to a counselor too. I think we equate that with weakness or something…not sure! I experienced it after my third child. Tell Yourself the Truth was a book that helped as well. Isolation is horrible! At the time we had only one car and I think being isolated fed my depression. Thanks for sharing, Dabney!!

    • dabneyland

      Yes, Jody. I did equate that with weakness. So sad. I’ll have to check that book out too. Thanks for opening up and sharing with me. And for record, I NEVER would have guessed you struggled with this. I think that’s why it’s so important to reach out and open up. I would have liked to talk with you back then. Your voice of reason would have been helpful. I know better now to open up. Another lesson learned. 🙂

  • Eric Inman

    Nice read:)
    Btw, who is the cutie blue eyed girl in the pic? Single???
    Eric J Inman Aquatic Weed Control, Inc. 6536 Pinecastle Blvd Suite A Orlando, Florida 32809 Phone 407-859-2020 Fax 407-859-3275

  • John Roth

    Thank you for your honesty! I can relate to you, but my depression was a little different I think. I lived with depression for a period of ten years. Effected every part of my life, especially my self-esteem. There was an obvious issue but I also dealt with denial and embarrassment. After attending a recovery ministry, I realized that I was also in denial of my control issue. I also realized that I was setting unrealistic expectations for everyone and everything. When I couldn’t control those expectations, I would get angry. I knew I was not allowed to show my anger, so I pointed it inward and bottles it up. That anger inside of me turned into depression. What I had to learn was to let go and let God. Give up my illusion of control. I live life now believing I have conquered depression. That doesn’t mean that it’s gone forever, it just means that now I know the triggers and I have the tools to not let depression control me.

    • dabneyland

      I have felt ALL of these things. Wow. Loved your statement about letting go and let God take over.
      Thank you for sharing this. I think it helps others know they are not alone in this battle.
      Blessings to you!

  • Omar

    Hi Dabney,
    I found your post by accident and I was very moved by it. I was depressed for most of my life and once I started therapy, I learned so many things about myself and my habits that I had not even thought about before. There are so many factors that contribute to depression.
    Some of the things I learned are that depression is not only in the mind, it’s in the emotions and in the body, and so effective depression treatment has to address those three areas. The first tip I would give is to watch and challenge the automatic negative thoughts as they come up – they are very subtle and insidious and if we let them sweep us away, we end up in a very negative space… all from just one negative thought. A good practice is to keep a journal and write down what those automatic negative thoughts are and what triggers them – eg loneliness, feeling vulnerable, shame etc and then to challenge them by confronting them – the negative thoughts are often not true, and so when you challenge them, you can get your power back.
    The body is often overlooked in depression since we store our unexpressed emotions in our bodies. One of my mentors is Alexander Lowen, the founder of BioEnergetics Therapy and he recommends releasing those old emotions that we were unable to express as children , so a great tip that worked for me is to scream into a pillow and beat the bed with my fists with the intention of releasing that unexpressed emotion. Better turn it on the bed than on yourself or loved ones.
    If you’re interested, I made some videos about how I overcame depression naturally – they’re on youtube http://www.youtube.com/user/DepressionHero.
    Blessings to you.

    • dabneyland

      There is much to learn in this topic, much I wish I would have researched more. At least once a week someone confides that they or their loved one is struggling. I can only offer what helped me, but there may be other solutions i am missing.
      Thank you for taking the time to write out these tips. I’ll be sure to watch your video, too. The best news is that there is hope. You just proved that.
      Blessings, Dabney.
      Sent from my iPhone

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